What women want

Pretty little things. Sexy shoes. Nice clothes. Pampering products. Of course, love. Lots of love. And all of the above, not necessarily in that order.

Let me begin with pretty little things. I have had a long-standing love affair with Victoria’s Secret, an addiction that started with my first trip to the US as a young bride, where I spent hours trying on and choosing from an abundance of pretty little things. What was there not to love? Lace, silk, satin, cotton — there was just so much to adore and I waked out of the store with admittedly more than I probably needed. What could I do? I was hooked.

It was an addiction sustained by the catalogues that VS sends out generously throughout the year (they send out an average of four to six catalogues every couple of months); but that turned into frustration because of its obvious unavailability in local stores.  Thankfully, online shopping and having flight attendants as friends soon became a convenient way of accessing imported products, but the downside was still there — you don’t get to fit, the sizing can change depending on the style and material, and sometimes the products are not as advertised. But because you have no choice, you keep at it.

There is a saying that goes, “The unattainable is always desirable.” But ever since La Senza at Bonifacio High Street opened shop I have been whistling a different tune. The desirable is now oh-so-attainable. Industry talk has it that La Senza and Victoria’s Secret have one and the same manufacturer. That is not difficult to believe, and any Victoria’s Secret fan will find that out for herself the moment she walks in the door.

I fell in love with the pajamas, in materials so soft you would want to lounge in them the whole day. The bathrobes are luxuriously plush and smooth, in white, beige, hot pink and blush. The bras and panties, in a myriad of styles, are sexy and flattering and absolutely delightful, spiked with satin and lace, and studded with crystals, with surprising details like animal prints on the underside of an otherwise very innocent color. The whole point is feeling sexy for yourself; whether or not someone else sees it is purely incidental.  It’s all very luxurious in there, and it is quite an act of will not to indulge yourself, when everywhere you look all the signs say you must. The seamless underwear is truly invisible under clothes and the colors, when not sultry and sexy, are just happy. There are tops and loungewear that thankfully do not sacrifice style for comfort.  There is absolutely no reason to be frumpy because with La Senza, it will be very difficult for a woman not to feel pretty, sexy and special all at once. They say everything has to be start from within; in this case, pretty and sexy just has to start from within your clothes.

Beside La Senza is another one of my favorite stores, The Face Shop.  I was there last week and I hoarded their Sweet Body Moisture with Avocado line. I am so loving it now because it really makes my skin silky and smooth and smelling subtly sweet. I take advantage of the fact that the line comes in many variants so I can really layer the scent, making it last all day. In the shower I use the Body Cleanser and the Body Exfoliator. After I rinse and while my skin is still damp I use the Body Oil. While I wait for my damp skin to absorb the light oil I do my whole Obagi facial care routine and just before I slip into my clothes I slather all over my body the Sweet Body Moisture Balm.  Skin becomes and stays decadently smooth. I was also intrigued by the Flebeaute Skincare Line, and I got a set for a friend of mine who was pushing 40. Her verdict? It was wonderful! I really read labels and was drawn to the fact that it boasts of natural collagen complex, saffron which apparently promotes faster cell regeneration and provides strong healing power, and orchid extract which delays aging (I’ve always wondered why orchids last longer than most flowers!). The secret weapon comes in the form of Nano-sized Hydrolyzed Collagen stabilized in liposomes. Result: the appearance of lines and wrinkles that have started to become obvious with age is minimized and smoothened, and younger looking skin prevails.

Over at Kashieca, it’s all about being a lady and loving it. The pretty details you will find in the clothes are feminine but not saccharine.  Kris and I have a line there called Best-Dressed by Kris and Lucy and we get a lot of good feedback on the fluid tops and the soft fabrics used. My other favorite line there is Kashieca Luxe. Yet another surprise already discovered by many are the adorable accessories.  A whole section in the pretty shop shows off belts and bags, and bracelets and bag charms made of beads and crystals and other pretty components that have an old-world charm to them.

At Bench, what is there not to love? The brand that T-shirts built has grown in quantum leaps and bounds, expanding to embrace a total lifestyle. The now even have handmade soap and I always have in my shower room the complete Bench Organics Papaya Whitening and Moisturizing Line that includes the scrub, the firming lotion, the soap, the dry oil mist. I also stock up on their many scents, in very pretty packaging because they make very nice gifts especially for my friends and relatives abroad.

Shoes… name me a woman who does not love shoes. Aldo and Charles and Keith are two of my favorite haunts. Being a size 10, it can be frustrating to shop for shoes here in Manila but Aldo has 10’s in select styles. Come June though they will have that size in all styles and I can hardly wait! I like Aldo because even if the heels are sky-high, they are comfortable and do not punish the back. Nor do they ruin the feet. I also love the metallic clutch bags and their accessories are just great — tastefully designed, definitely not tacky bling. Charles and Keith have pretty, pretty choices at very affordable prices. I saw and fell in love with some very pretty white shoes there, a color that is perennially fresh, innocent and elegant at the same time. Shine will always be big, regardless of the season and you will never go wrong by adding some shimmer to your bag and shoe closet. There is a lot to like in this shop.

Today is Mother’s Day, yet another reason to get that special woman you know what she wants and loves. But Mother’s Day or not there are 364 other reasons and occasions to show her that you care enough to choose a thoughtful little present.

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